Clash of star Kiwi stars on hold
4 September 2015
The connections of Spalato have mixed feelings about War Affair’s scratching from Sunday evening’s Gr.3 Jumbo Jet Trophy at Kranji.
They were due to go toe to toe in the 1400 metre event in an eagerly anticipated clash between the two New Zealand-bred stars of Singapore racing, but O’Reilly’s son War Affair will miss the race after suffering an injury during the week.
“We sent him for precautionary scans and, unfortunately, he has a small soft tissue injury,” trainer Alwin Tan said.
“I know a lot of fans will be disappointed. I am, too, but I had to put the horse’s welfare first and I also have to look after my owners.
“Hopefully, we’ll bring him back for the Kranji Mile. Who knows, maybe we will finally get to run against Spalato then.”
Spalato’s South Auckland breeder Trish Dunell, who races the Elusive City six-year-old with her husband Graham Mackie, shared Tan’s sentiments.
“It’s a real shame for the club, they’ve been building up to it so much and all the people were talking about it,” she said.
“I love War Affair and he’s a beautiful looking horse. Spalato’s mother is in foal to O’Reilly so it would be fantastic to get a combination of the two.”
Post-race plans for Spalato have yet to be confirmed, despite reports the horse was booked to enter quarantine for a possible Melbourne campaign.
“That’s pretty unlikely,” Dunell said. “We’ll look at the options after this race and if he was going to leave Singapore again then my personal preference would be for Dubai.”
In the more immediate future, the John O’Hara-trained Spalato has the Gr.1 Kranji Mile on October 4 and the Gr.1 Raffles Cup three weeks later on his doorstep.
Spalato is unbeaten in his seven Singapore starts with the only blemishes on the gelding’s record his two unplaced runs last year in Hong Kong, subsequently traced to a pelvic injury